Though face-to-face instruction has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts throughout B.C. are required to continue to provide learning opportunities for students.
Teachers in the Comox Valley are connecting this week with students by phone or email.
“It’s in the early stages right now,” SD71 Supt. Tom Demeo said of the plan moving forward. “Our goal this week is simply to have every one of our teachers connect with students. They’re doing a check-in, see how kids are doing, and they’re beginning what we’re calling a learning needs assessment.”
Behind the scenes, teachers are working with administrators and support staff to determine what the next stage will look like.
“It’s going to look different, but we’ve got dedicated people out in the field. I know they’re going to provide learning opportunities for our students at all levels,” Demeo said. “This is new for everyone. Parents have been fabulous and understanding as we figure this out. We’re making sure we’re doing it properly. We’re taking our time, we’re not rushing. We’re asking teachers to do the same and work with families, and find out what are some of the needs. And our graduating students, make sure they’re in positions to graduate. A lot of things to think about as we move forward.
“It’s a different world we’re living in, trying to abide by social distancing and self-isolation,” Demeo added.
The school board conducted a virtual meeting Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Education Ministry announced a Zoom collaboration tool that enables teachers to use video-conferencing to communicate remotely with students.
Government has also launched Keep Learning (www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning), a central place where families can find ideas for educational activities, links to free learning resources, and ideas to help children learn and to ensure their well-being while at home.
SD71 continually update its website, which includes government updates on COVID-19. The FAQ section grows daily as questions arise.